Flurry of deals in biotech as M&A activity picks up

Charles Deluvio

After a slow couple of years, there are signs that biotech M&A activity is coming back into vogue, and a series of small transactions announced in the last few days provide further evidence of that trend.

Along with Lonza’s €100 million ($107 million) deal for antibody-drug conjugate specialist Synaffix – see our article here – but the last couple of days saw no fewer than four other small deals in different areas of the industry, all involving European firms. Here are the details:


Germany’s Ariceum Therapeutics, a specialist in radiopharmaceuticals for diagnostic and therapeutic applications, has snapped up UK rival Theragnostics and its pipeline of radio-labelled PARP inhibitors for the diagnosis and treatment of tumours.

The transaction gives Ariceum an interest in FDA-approved diagnostic Nephroscan (technetium Tc 99m succimer) for renal parenchymal disorders – partnered with GE – as well as fluorine-18 radiolabelled PARP inhibitor ATD 001 for cancer imaging, I-123-labelled PARP inhibitor AT-001 for aggressively growing cancers including primary and recurrent glioblastoma, and technology licensed to Novartis for use in prostate cancer diagnostics. AT-001 is ready to start phase 1 testing.

The assets add to Ariceum’s portfolio, headed by radiotherapy SS0110 for gastroenteropancreatic-neuroendocrine tumours (GEP-NET), small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC). Ariceum has bought Theragnostics for an upfront payment of $2.5 million in cash, plus milestone payments of up to $41.5 million.


Swedish life sciences group Getinge has bought High Purity New England (HPNE), a Rode Island, US-based manufacturer of disposable products used in biomanufacturing for $120 million in cash upfront and up to $170 million in milestones tied to commercial objectives.

HPNE’s products are used in drug discovery, upstream and downstream processing, and fill-and-finish activities by companies engaged in the development of monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, cell and gene therapies and other next-generation therapies. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.


In the area of diagnostics, UK group Avacta announced an agreement to acquire Belgian company Coris Bioconcept for £7.4m ($9.3 million) upfront and potential future payments of up to £3 million depending on future business performance.

Coris’ products include tests for respiratory, gastro-enteric and blood-borne pathogens – including a COVID-19 lateral flow test – as well as kits for the detection of antibiotic resistance markers that generated around £4.6 million in sales last year.

It is Avacta’s second deal in the diagnostics space after it took over Launch Diagnostics last October and part of a strategy to become a full-spectrum in-vitro diagnostics business covering pathology laboratory diagnostics and point-of-care testing kits for community use.

BC Platforms/4Pharma

Turning to the data analytics category, Switzerland’s BC Platforms has bought 4Pharma, a business based in Finland and Sweden that provides medical research data and analytics services for clinical trials and real-world studies, for an undisclosed sum. The deal is due to complete in the second quarter.

4Pharma’s chief executive Tero Oinonen, who will become executive vice president, North-Europe for BC Platforms when the deal completes, said the merger will create an opportunity to combine the Swiss company’s data network and 4Pharma’s biostatistics and data management services.

4Pharma has developed expertise in a broad range of therapeutic areas, including oncology, neurology, ophthalmology, musculoskeletal, respiratory diseases, infectious diseases, and gynaecology, and has around 70 clients in the Nordics, Central Europe, and the US.

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